First a simple question was asked.
“Need a room for the night sir’?
A different question from another malnourished dark skin Indian man.
“What are you looking for my friend”?
A scantily dressed Indian woman sitting crossed legged on a short plastic stool in front of a jewelry shop winking at me…
I think to myself “am I witnessing pimping first hand”? Walking past…
A giant black man with a strong African accent then gets my attention “I have hashish. What are you looking for”!?
Before I can give any response, a Middle Eastern guy asks if I’m hungry while he is holding an opened restaurant menu. I took the opportunity to escape the area and then he led me to his restaurant that was deep inside the ground floor of this complex.
I struggled to keep up as I took in the surroundings. Neon lights displayed signs stating ‘exchange’, ‘jewelry’ ‘gold’ ‘tailoring’ and ‘electronics’ were all lite up to attract visitors. A few salesmen standing in front of the establishments motioned for my attention. An array of people from Africa, Middle Eastern countries, Indians and others from South East Asian countries were among the owners, workers, hustlers, and general loiters. What was this place? The general vibe was sketch….I wanted to turn around…I wanted to go deeper in…
After a few turns and passing many restaurants serving Middle Eastern, Nepali, and an array of curries, we finally make it to his establishment. He pulled out a seat for me and placed the menu before me…
I really just needed to locate the place I’d be staying while taking cover from the outside downpour. It was around 10:30 pm. I was just arriving.
Using the restaurant’s WIFI, I discovered the actual location was near and called the owner. Apparently, it was a part of this ‘neighborhood’ within the few blocks of Chung King Mansions.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about this place since it is a blog post on its own. Here is a link explaining the notorious area https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chungking_Mansions
Long story short, its a sleazy part of town and a place with the cheapest rooms in Hong Kong. So, I can’t blame my employer for booking these two nights here – too much. A visa run brought me to Hong Kong…A quick entry, 1-day stay and an exit the following day after. This was all the time I was allowed since it was on my off days from work.
“Hell, this is a part of the experience,” I told myself to help overcome my feelings of not wanting to stay in the area. And technically, I’d only spend a few hours in the room. Most of the time I’ll be sleeping while there.
After eating a huge plate of long grain basmati white rice and Lentil Curry, I gathered my things and pulled my luggage behind me. Avoiding eye contact with the hustlers at the entrance on my way out. My room (the size of a huge walk-in closet-I would soon discover) was, in fact, the next building over on the 12th floor…
Here are a few pictures that were taken the following day.